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U.S. Vaccine Supply Slashed in Half

For all those so-called "experts" who have used fear to motivate people to take vaccines, today's news about half the U.S. vaccine supply being rendered unusable sounds strangely appropriate to me.

Because a manufacturing license at a Liverpool factory was suspended for three months due to concerns surrounding sterility, Chiron Corp. has been forced stop the production of flu vaccines to the United States, affecting some 46 million doses. Government officials had hoped to have about 13 percent more doses available this winter (about 100 million), after an early outbreak of the flu and well-publicized deaths of some children contributed to a shortage last year.

In late August, Chiron said it would delay shipments of its vaccine until early this month and cut the number of doses it would supply by up to 4 million because a small number of batches had been contaminated.

American authorities are urging the public to allow people at most risk -- seniors older than 65 and babies from 6-24 months old -- to have access to the flu vaccine first. But readers of this blog and my twice-weekly newsletter already know the "dirty little secret" behind the vaccine scare: They never have prevented illnesses and never will.

Another concern: Thimerosal, a vaccine preservative that contains mercury, is still widely used in vaccines, including those routinely administered to children. Thimerosal contains close to 50 percent ethyl mercury by weight. Children are particularly sensitive to mercury as their nervous systems are still rapidly developing.

One of the best ways to sidestep the vaccine dilemma: Handwashing could help prevent the flu and other infections, particularly in young children.

The Lakeland Ledger October 6, 2004

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